Parsons senior Barcus caps special season with invite to Kansas Shrine Bowl

Tanner Barcus will represent Parsons in the 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl this summer.

PARSONS, Kan. – Parsons wide receiver Tanner Barcus will have a chance to play one more game this summer.

“I’m very glad for that, because I really do love football,” Barcus says, “I’m glad I get to play again in high school.”

Barcus has been selected to play in the 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl, after posting 75 catches for more than 1,000 yards with 13 touchdowns in the fall.

“It’s about Tanner. It’s also about Tanner’s teammates,” says Parsons head football coach Jeff Schibi, “I think it means a lot to them as well to be able to see their teammate play in this game.”

“It was just very exciting and pretty thrilling to know that I’d be doing it,” Barcus says, “It was pretty heart-warming too, just being around my family and all of them telling he how proud they are of me.”

“He’s special. He’s a special player. He’s also a special kid,” Schibi adds, “Tanner has kind of waited his turn here at Parsons. We’ve had some great receivers. He kind of burst onto the scene early this year and we just fed him the rock. He was making play after play. When a guy is doing that, you want to get it to him as much as possible.”

It was a special season for Barcus – not just for the numbers.

He and the team dedicated the season to his grandfather, and former Parsons coach Don Barcus, who passed away last summer.

“That was a big part of my motivation this season,” Barcus says, “It was the biggest part, really.”

“Losing someone that means so much not just to Parsons High School, but the community of Parsons, it gave us extra motivation to go out there and fight for Don Barcus every single Friday night,” coach Schibi says.

“It just meant a lot. It meant everything to me,” Barcus adds of playing for his grandfather, “I’m proud it was for him.”

Barcus is headed to school at KU after graduation, but he has not closed the door on playing in college if given the right opportunity.

“I joke around with people and I say Tanner Barcus is almost too smart to play football,” Schibi says, “What coach wouldn’t love a kid that has a 4.4 GPA, shows up on time to practice, has 100% weight room attendance and works hard every single day? It’s a coaches dream to have someone like that on their team.”

For now, the senior is just focusing on his next game: the Shrine Bowl in June.

“It’s a great honor to be able to play for them,” Barcus says of playing in the game, “That’s really what it’s all about when it comes down to it. Regardless of what happens in the game, it’s about them. It’s one of the biggest honors I’ve had in my life.”

The 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl will be played on June 26th in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Three other local players have been selected to play in the game: Girard’s Dee Wideman, Coffeyville’s Darell Jones and Caleb Murillo from Columbus High School.